The Big Lie

10 Nov

Andrew Sullivan, blogger for The Atlantic and traditional conservative, has emerged as one of the most sensible, centrist voices in America in recent years.  He absolutely nails the American political culture of recent years as the “triumph of untruth”

It seems to me that the last year or so in America’s political culture has represented the triumph of untruth. And the untruth was propagated by a deliberate, simple and systemic campaign to kill Obama’s presidency in its crib.

We have an opposition party who is not serious about governing; only winning elections and centralizing political power.  Ideas are not debated, policies not negotiated; positions only demonized.  All of this aided by a news media so afraid of establishing a point of view or making a judgement, that they simply focus on how policy decisions will affect the next election or the daily news cycle and ensuing polls.

Emergency measures in a near-unprecedented economic collapse…were described by the right as ideological moves of choice, when they were, in fact, pragmatic moves of necessity.  The health insurance reform – almost identical to Romney’s, to the right of the Clintons in 1993, costed to reduce the deficit, without a public option, and with millions more customers for the insurance and drug companies – was turned into a socialist government take-over.

Sullivan instead proposes an interesting thought experiment for his readers…

If a black Republican president had come in, helped turn around the banking and auto industries (at a small profit!), insured millions through the private sector while cutting Medicare, overseen a sharp decline in illegal immigration, ramped up the war in Afghanistan, reinstituted pay-as-you go in the Congress, set up a debt commission to offer hard choices for future debt reduction, and seen private sector job growth outstrip the public sector’s in a slow but dogged recovery, somehow I don’t think that Republican would be regarded as a socialist.

Instead, we have an opposition whose primary stated goal is to remove the President from power in 2012.  Sullivan then proceeds to filet right wing talking points on Obama and comes to the following conclusion…

A deliberate campaign of misinformation. A Big Lie.

I’ve spent the past week consuming exit poll data, analysis and thoughtful examination of the results of last week’s election.  I’ve come to several conclusions and I’ll discuss them on the radio later today with Brad Riter at 4PM on WECK1230 and I’ll follow up with a more lengthy post tomorrow.

What is most interesting to me is that the American voter has never been more susceptible to disinformation and is consequently willing to make voting decisions that don’t necessarily jibe with their stated opinion on policy.

A bizarre place to find our republic at a time of great distress…

9 Responses to “The Big Lie”

  1. BobbyCat November 10, 2010 at 8:19 am #

    Andrew Sullivan is exactly right. It’s been a campaign of one lie after another. These are not random falsehoods but rather well-researched lies, done by master researcher, Dr.Frank Luntz, who conducts focus groups to determine which urban legends or country myths are most believable to a gullible public. Once he determines the most believable lies he feeds his research to the GOP and they disseminate these “talking points’ to their propaganda arm, Fox News, Karl Rove, Drudge and other right wing flunkies. Polling data reveals that the Luntz mythology are actually believed by many Americans. These lies make it halfway around the world before the truth pulls its boots on, said Mark Twain.

    At a time in our history when our citizens should be engaged in a serious debate on how to overcome serious problems , we are debating urban and country mythologies. The media is absolutely feckless in its inablility to identify “lies” anywhere in our public discourse. I wish somebody in the media would have the balls to stand on a soapbox and scream “For chrissakes, THERE ARE NO FREAKIN DEATH PANELS!!!”

    Thank you, Andrew Sullivan, and Christopher Smith.

  2. Mike In WNY November 10, 2010 at 10:05 am #

    Andrew Sullivan, the self-identified conservative, was ranked 19th out of 25 on Forbes list of most influential liberals (2009). Sullivan vehemently endorsed Obama, this liberal opinion piece is consistent with that endorsement. If Sullivan were the emperor, he would have no clothes.

    The real “Big Lie” is that Sullivan is a “traditional conservative”.

  3. Christopher Byrd November 10, 2010 at 10:10 am #

    “We are taught to believe that ideology is the enemy of free thought. But that’s not right. Ideology is a mere checklist of principles and priorities. The real enemy of clear thinking is the script. We think the world is supposed to go by a familiar plot. And when the facts conflict with the script, we edit the facts.” -Jonah Goldberg

  4. Rob November 10, 2010 at 10:28 am #

    I thought that quote might have evidenced a rare moment of self-awareness by the Doughy Pantload – but no, he was talking about liberals.

  5. peteherr November 10, 2010 at 11:30 am #

    The Republicans have always…in my political lifetime….been better at messaging. Even when the message is an outright lie. They can, as a party, decide on a message and to a fault stick to that message. I really noticed it this week on Meet The Press when one of the roundtablers, I don’t remember her name, a former Bush advisor I think, said something about unemployment and she finished her sentence with “Which the president said wouldn’t go above 8%”. No Republican in the whole country is allowed to discuss unemployment without adding that as the final sentence. And they all follow the rules and that is great strategy….and they won the battle this time on this strategy alone. Make up their talking points and keep saying them over and over until they are true.

  6. bubba November 10, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    Sadly, all of that holds true regarding the Thompson campaign too. Even folks on his own side were all too willing to throw him under the bus.

  7. Eric Saldanha November 10, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    Other raging liberals who endorsed Obama:

    Colin Powell
    Ken Adelman
    Charles Fried
    Arne Carlson
    Larry Pressler
    Ken Duberstein
    Julie Nixon Eisenhower
    Susan Eisenhower
    Scott McClellan
    Paul O’Neill
    Christopher Buckley
    Francis Fukuyama

  8. BobbyCat November 10, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

    @peteherr

    The Republicans have perfected the old Soviet-style dis-information campaign that spins/repeats popular mythology into accepted “truths”. Fox is the new Pravda and the RNCC is the new KGB. Frank Luntz and Carl Rove are the puppet masters. The only difference is that the old KGB-Pravda dis-information scam would insert one key lie into 99 truthful secrets. The new republican methodology uses Fox News to dump more bullshit into the airways then anybody can cope with. Fox is all bullshit all the time – a new phenomenon – an all-out assault against the truth. The Dems should have the balls to declare that Fox is not a news organization but a propaganda organization and withdraw their credentials from the White House Press Corp, But that would take some guts that this Administration is short on. Its time to promote Robt. Gibbs and replace him with some new kick-ass Press Secretary.

  9. Christopher Smith November 10, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

    From Wikipedia, also…this is what a Republican used to look like before the right wing religious zealots took over the party.

    Sullivan describes himself as a conservative and is the author of The Conservative Soul. He supports a broad range of traditional conservative positions. He favors a flat tax, limited government, privatization of social security, and a strong military, and opposes welfare state programs such as publicly-funded health care. However, on a number of controversial public issues, including same-sex marriage, the conduct of torture in the US, and capital punishment, he takes a position typically shared by those on the left of the U.S. political spectrum. His position on abortion is mixed; he says that he personally finds it immoral and favors overturning Roe v. Wade, but can accept legal abortions in the first trimester.

    Sullivan supported G.W. Bush in the 2000 election.[15] In 2004, he gave late endorsment to John Kerry, primarily as a vote against what he saw as severe problems with the Bush administration. In 2006, he supported the Democratic Party. Sullivan endorsed Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic Nomination in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election, and Rep. Ron Paul for the Republican nomination. Sullivan endorsed Obama for President on the eve of the election

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